Mediacom chairman, CEO and founder Rocco Commisso can now add sports mogul to his lengthy resume, with the purchase of North American Soccer League champion the New York Cosmos.
Commisso will be chairman of the club as well as its majority shareholder. Speculation regarding his involvement with the team has been rampant for days.
Commisso is buying the team from Sela Sports and Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien. According to reports, O’Brien is expected to stay on as a minority owner.
The Cosmos are one of the best-known names in the NASL, and had a storied run in the 1970s with iconic players like Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto. In recent years, the team has been relegated to the second tier NASL.
“Like so many of our fantastic fans, I have followed the Cosmos since the fabulous days of Pelé, Chinaglia, Alberto, and Beckenbauer,” Commisso said in a statement. “With my deep roots in the New York City area as a former player, youth coach, and proud supporter of the Columbia University soccer program, I look forward to building on the rich history of America’s most iconic soccer club.”
Commisso, a life-long soccer fan and a star player in college – he was co-captain of the Columbia University squad in 1970 – should bring stability and needed funds to the club.
The Cosmos have lost six of their top players to other teams in recent months – including 2016 NASL MVP Juan Arango – and have reportedly lost as much as $30 million over the years.
As defending champions of the NASL, the Cosmos will return to the field in 2017 with head coach Giovanni Savarese at the helm.
“Cosmos fans deserve a world class experience,” said Savarese in a statement. “I am thrilled Rocco is giving me the opportunity to continue as head coach to pursue our fourth championship in five years.”
The Cosmos are expected to officially unveil the new ownership at a teleconference at 11:30 a.m. today.
“We’ve worked hard to secure a positive future for the club and Rocco is the perfect person to lead the continued renaissance,” O’Brien said in a statement. “He is not only extremely knowledgeable about the beautiful game as it is played worldwide, but brings extensive entrepreneurial experience in the media and communications business to the organization.”
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